This article in the NY Times shows that there is a demand for education – not just degrees – and that some people might be realizing that college is not necessarily the place to get it.
“Think of it as a place where technology outruns education.” [said Anthony P. Carnevale] No.
From my perspective as a former math professor, this is more accurate: Think of it as a place where actual “education” trumps treating students as naïve “consumers”.
Here is just one example of treating students as consumers and the harm it causes.
When I taught at Washington University in St. Louis, I was pressured to make a critical engineering requirement a “cookbook” course. (This is not so unusual in today’s climate of catering to student “wants”, which are rarely student “needs”.) I even had a dean (of student academic integrity) write me telling me not to discourage students (after I had written him that the students who were cheating on their homework were the ones not doing well); and that “retention” was important. Of course, the “retention” that the “cookbook” course would yield would rob hard working students of even having the opportunity to learn what they needed to become good engineers. I did not change the course. (This whole story with documentation is on my blog inside-higher-ed .)
I hope the success of these for-profit schools will help people understand just how bankrupt higher education has become. The big difference between the schools described in this article and “non-profits” is that the non-profits aren’t held accountable; so, of course they attract scoundrels to the top positions.